The real life story of the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation, "Bhutto" chronicles the trials and tribulations of Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. In a land divided by violence and turmoil, film maker Duane Baughman does an excellent job outlining the country's turbulent history as well as getting a vividly close look at the Bhutto clan. Often called the "Kennedys of Pakistan," Benazir's affluent family had political connections around the globe--but that didn't stop her father from being imprisoned and executed by his own military. Taking an unprecedented position as an Islamic woman, Benazir rose to populist power not once or twice--but three times. Surviving years of exile and/or imprisonment as well as accusations of corruption, she never relinquished Pakistan as her homeland and a place she wanted to fight for. Making significant strides in education, medical care, and the rights of women--her legacy lives on and, in many ways, her children have taken up the fight for democracy.
The documentary is laid out as a chronological telling of the Bhutto (and the Pakistani) story beginning with the advent of Pakistan as an independent entity to the aftermath of Benazir's very public assassination. Interviewing journalists, historians, and those in or close to the Bhutto family, the film really gives you an idea of who Benazir was and the conditions that informed her struggle. An incredibly personal look at a leader on the world stage, the documentary seems to allow a closeness not often associated with political documentaries.
If you have any interest in the Bhutto clan or Islamic history, this is certainly an easy recommendation. The film plays as a fascinating political thriller with as much or more drama than you're likely to see in any fictional feature. So even if you have no knowledge or preconceived notions of the subject matter, this is still a thought provoking examination of a turbulent time and an impressive woman. Check it out. KGHarris, 5/11.